Fernwood Rain Report

A bit of green emerges from our fire-parched land. Photo by Eric Fitzgerald

The last three Wednesdays have brought us three storms that have finally put us “in the black” for rainfall for the first time in over a year. The water year runs from October 1 to September 30. Since October 1 we have seen 5.42 inches of rain, well over the 2.99 inches of precipitation that is our average for December 7. Last year we received only 0.11 inches of water by this date. Los Angeles Civic Center doesn’t get the benefit of the lift caused by the mountains and has received 4.26 inches of the wet stuff so far this season. That is still 2.24 inches of rain over their average of 2.02 inches of rain.

The first Wednesday storm brought us 0.67 inches of rain. The second Wednesday’s storm was a long gentle soaker that eased a whopping 2.47 inches of rain on our poor fire-scarred chaparral. We saw the most recent Wednesday bring us 1.99 inches of rain that fell mostly on Thursday morning and was more threatening to the stability of burn areas. Major problems were avoided and this steady moisture is a balm for all us fire-shocked critters. As plant life regenerates in all this rain, their root systems will slowly serve to stabilize the mountainsides.

It is still uncertain if El Niño will dominate our weather pattern for the balance of the season. Weather forecasting beyond ten days is still tricky, even in this age of computer modeling. Sometimes the various models can’t even agree among themselves or on a run-to-run basis for the 1 – 10 day outlook and meteorologists have low confidence in the immediate forecast. Our biosphere presents a staggering amount of variables.

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